Montana State University

Accounting Coordinator

Marc Giullian, Ph.D.
mgiullian@montana.edu
(406) 994-1965
442 Reid Hall

MPAc Director

Anne Christensen, Ph.D.
busgrad@montana.edu
(406) 994-2043
444 Reid Hall

Jake Jabs College of
Business & Entrepreneurship

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173040
Bozeman, MT 59717-3040
Tel: (406) 994-4423
Fax: (406) 994-6206
business@montana.edu
451 Reid Hall

Dean

Kregg Aytes

Make a Gift to the College of Business
AACBB Accredited

MPAC FAQs

  1. What are the application deadlines?
  2. What are the important MPAc deadlines for current and prospective students?
  3. What if I missed the deadline - do I have to wait for the next term to start my program?
  4. What materials do I need to apply?
  5. I took the GRE / GMAT but have not yet received the scores - does this mean I cannot apply?
  6. What are the mimimum GMAT/GRE scores required for admission to the MPAc program?
  7. Where can I obtain more information about the GMAT or GRE?
  8. How important is my undergraduate GPA?
  9. When can I start taking the CPA exam?
  10. What are MSU's most current CPA pass rate results?
  11. What financial help is available?
  12. What will I study in the MPAc program?
  13. Can I take any of the classes on-line?
  14. Do you offer night classes?
  15. Are there graduate classes available during summer term?
  16. I don't have an undergraduate degree in accounting - should I get one before starting the MPAc program?
  17. What are my job prospects with an MPAc degree?
  18. I am currently a senior working on my undergraduate accounting degree at MSU. My last semester of undergraduate work is not a full load - can I take some extra classes and have them count toward my MPAc degree?
  19. How do I apply for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship?
  20. Once I'm in the MPAc Program, is it true that I must earn grades of "B" or higher?
  21. I already have an undergraduate degree in an area other than business (or in a business area other than accounting). Consequently, I need to take many or all of the required background courses before I can apply for admission to the MPAc program. I do not wish to pursue a second undergraduate degree in accounting, so my classification status will be that of "non-degree graduate student" (NDGR). Am I eligible for financial aid as an NDGR, and if not what options do I have?

  1. What are the application deadlines?

    Application Deadlines

    Starting term U.S. Applicants International Applicants
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    June 15
    November 15
    April 15
    June 1
    November 1
    April 1


    Priority Application Deadlines
    Priority deadlines are important for students applying for scholarships and Graduate Teaching Assistantships.

    Starting term U.S. Applicants International Applicants
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    March 15
    October 15
    March 15
    March 1
    August 15
    January 1

  2. What are the important MPAc deadlines for current and prospective students?

    Click here for a calendar of important dates and deadlines for prospective and current MPAc students.

  3. What if I missed the deadline - do I have to wait for the next term to start my program?

    If you are qualified for the program but have missed the deadline, you can take up to 9 credits of approved 400-level or possibly 500-level classes as a non-degree graduate student and have those credits count toward your MPAc requirements. A grade of "B" or higher ("B-" will not qualify) must be earned for the credits to count toward your MPAc degree. Depending on the timing and the reason for missing the deadline, it is possible a late application may be considered. Contact the MPAc Director immediately to determine if circumstances will permit consideration of your late application. Note that as a student in "non-degree" status, you are not eligible for federal financial aid.
     
  4. What materials do I need to apply?
     
    • Application form - available on-line
    • Application fee
    • Official transcripts (MSU transcripts past 1988 need not be submitted)
    • Essay - one page statement about your motivations for entering the program
    • 3 letters of recommendation - these letters should be confidential letters, mailed directly by the writer to the College of Business Office of Student Services (338 Reid Hall, P.O. Box 173040, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717-3040). Letters should be written by people who are able to judge your ability to succeed in graduate school, e.g., your undergraduate accounting professors, a CPA who served as your supervisor during an internship, or other faculty. Please do not ask for letters of recommendation from family members, friends, roommates, etc..
    • GRE or GMAT scores - the GRE is offered at MSU
    • TOEFL or IELTS scores - required for international students only
       
  5. I took the GRE / GMAT but have not yet received the scores - does this mean I cannot apply?

    You can submit your unofficial scores that you received at the end of taking the test. We will process your application using these scores, but will require your official scores as a condition of admittance.

  6. What are the minimum GMAT/GRE scores required for admission to the MPAc program?

    We currently do not have any mimimum required GMAT or GRE scores. When making admission decisions, we focus on the entire application package.

    Most applicants take the GRE because the GRE is offered at MSU. However, the GMAT is equally acceptable.

  7. Where can I obtain more information about the GMAT or GRE?

    For the GMAT, this site offers practice questions and study tips:

    http://gmattestquestions.com

    For the GRE see: www.gre.org

    The GRE is offered at MSU. If you are currently an undergraduate student at MSU, you can learn more by visiting the MSU Testing Service website at: http://www.montana.edu/ehhd/centers/testing
     
  8. How important is my undergraduate GPA?

    Very important! We recommend an undergraduate GPA of 3.1 or better for admittance to the program. However, even when your GPA is 3.1 or better, we also consider program of study, strength of grades in your upper-level (junior and senior year) classes, and quality of the undergraduate institution when we review GPAs and make admitting decisions.

    For applicants with GPAs that are less than 3.1, we also consider other factors such as grades in junior and senior-level classes, grades in accounting classes, work experience, and your motivation for the program. When students with previous GPAs of 2.8 - 3.1 are occasionally admitted, the admission will contain provisions that require the student to achieve acceptable levels of performance in specific MPAc classes taken.

    Applicants with less than a cumulative 2.8 GPA will not be accepted into the MPAc program. For these students, we recommend that you take additional undergraduate accounting classes to improve your overall GPA and to demonstrate your mastery of undergraduate accounting material.
     
  9. When can I start taking the CPA exam?

    In Montana, you are eligible to apply to sit for the CPA exam after you have completed 24 credits of upper-level accounting classes and 24 credits of business classes. To establish your eligibility and register for the exam, you need to apply to the state board of public accountants. The CPA exam consists of four parts and you have 18 months from passing the first part to pass the remaining three parts. For more information about preparing for the CPA exam, click here.

  10. What are MSU's most current CPA pass rate results?

    Our students' success at passing the CPA Exam from 1983-2003 can be found here.

    We are unable to provide more current pass rates and national rankings. Since the CPA Exam became computerized in 2004, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) has changed how it calculates rankings. The manner by which it now calculates the rankings makes it impossible for MSU to be ranked, at least for the present.

    Unless we hear back from all of our students regarding their score results, it is not possible for MSU to calculate an accurate pass rate. Based on information received from most of our students since the CPA Exam became computerized, our best guess is that our results post-computerization are very similar to results pre-computerization, with pass rates varying from 56%-88%, depending upon the class. Thus, our students' first-time pass rate on the CPA Exam is still three to four times the national average.
     
  11. What financial help is available?

    Numerous scholarships and loan programs are available through the university and through the College of Business for admitted MPAc students. Additionally, there are several local organizations that have part time work opportunities. The Bracken Center in the College of Business actively solicits and promotes work opportunities for students. Also, each year a small number of highly-qualified MPAc students are selected as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs). The job of a GTA is to provide teaching support for faculty and tutoring services for students. In exchange, the GTA receives a partial tuition waiver and a small monthly stipend.

    It is important to note, however, that if you are not yet admitted to the MPAc program because you are completing the required background courses and are in "non-degree graduate student" status, you are not eligible for federal financial aid.
     
  12. What will I study in the MPAc program?

    The MPAc program consists of 6 required classes (Advanced Auditing, Accounting Theory, Advanced Taxation, Legal Issues for Accountants, Survey of Research in Accounting, and Advanced Accounting).

    In addition to the six required classes (totalling 18 credit hours), students must complete 12 elective credit hours (typically 4 classes). We have offered a wide range of electives, including Estate and Gift Taxation, International Accounting, Fraud Examination, Professional Services Management, Tax Practicum, Tax Research, and Advanced Governmental / Non-profit Accounting although the specific electives offered may vary from year to year. Students may also elect to take approved 400-level classes in finance and management, or possibly in another discipline that supports the student's goals.

  13. Can I take any of the classes on-line?

    No, none of our graduate classes are offered on-line, nor are any of our required background accounting courses. Most of the required business background courses are also not offered on-line, although BMKT 341 (Principles of Marketing), BMIS 311 (Information Systems), and BMGT 335 (Management and Organization) have been offered on-line during the summer term recently.

  14. Do you offer night classes?

    No, although one potential elective course, ACTG 421 (Accounting Information Systems II) has been offered one night a week in the fall semester sometimes.

  15. Are there graduate classes available during the summer term?

    Sometimes there have been one or two graduate accounting electives offered during the summer, depending upon faculty availability. However, there also have been summers when no graduate accounting electives were offered. Summer teaching schedules usually are not finalized until late December/early January, so this question cannot be answered each year until that time.

    Students have the option of receiving three credits of graduate accounting internship credit during the summer, but the Accounting Internship Oversight Committee must review and approve your proposed internship in advance in order for you to register and receive credit. All paperwork can be obtained from the Faculty Services Office (451 Reid), which includes a listing of the policies and step-by-step procedures to follow. All required internship application materials must be submitted to the Faculty Services Office in Reid 451 at least two weeks prior to the start of the semester in which you plan to obtain internshp credit.

    If you are planning on having a summer internship count for graduate credit toward your MPAc degree, you also must be officially admitted into the MPAc program for the summer semester. In other words, do not apply for Fall admission if you plan on enrolling in summer graduate internship credits.
     
  16. I don't have an undergraduate degree in accounting - should I get one before starting the MPAc program?

    While you have to decide for yourself what degree path creates the most value for you, we usually do not recommend that you supplement your existing undergraduate degree with another undergraduate degree. As preparation for the MPAc program, you can take the necessary undergraduate courses without having to meet all undergraduate requirements for a degree. Also, up to 9 credits of your 400-level accounting classes taken as MPAc background courses can be counted toward your MPAc degree. If these same credits were to be used toward a second undergraduate degree, they could not also count toward your MPAc elective credits.

    For the MPAc worksheet that lists required background courses and MPAc required courses and electives, click here.
     
  17. What are my job prospects with an MPAc degree?

    The accounting job market is strong and we have an active slate of recruiters who seek out MSU students. Our placement rates are very good, and starting salaries are competitive. Our students are recruited by several large international CPA firms, by regional and state CPA firms, and by industry, and governmental organizations.

  18. I am currently a senior working on my undergraduate accounting degree at MSU. My last semester of undergraduate work is not a full load - can I take some extra classes and have them count toward my MPAc degree?

    Yes, assuming certain criteria are met and some paperwork is completed on time.

    You may reserve up to 9 credits of approved 400-level accounting (and perhaps other) courses as part of the 30-credit MPAc degree requirement. You must have senior status (at least 90 semester credits earned), have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25, and complete, with all the required signatures, the "Petition to Reserve Credits" form available on the Division of Graduate Education's website (http://www.montana.edu/wwwdg/forms.html). Note that the form must be submitted by the 10th day of classes.

    You must earn a grade of "B" or higher ("B-" does not qualify) in order for the course(s) to count toward your MPAc degree. Also, if the course is required for your undergraduate degree, it may not also count toward the MPAc degree.

  19. How do I apply for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship?

    You must be a fully admitted graduate student to apply for a graduate teaching assistantship (GTA) position. All continuing and incoming fully admitted MPAc students will be e-mailed a GTA application in the spring (usually in April) for the following academic year. If there are any openings for the spring term, all continuing and incoming fully admitted MPAc students will be e-mailed a GTA application in the fall (usually November).

    A limited number of GTA positions are available and are awarded on a competitive basis. GTAs provide instructional support for faculty and tutoring services for accounting students. In exchange, GTAs receive a partial tuition waiver and a small monthly stipend.

  20. Once I'm in the MPAc program, is it true that I must earn grades of "B" or higher?

    Grades and GPAs are critically important in the MPAc program, and as such, you should strive to earn the best grades you can. The Division of Graduate Education requires all graduate students to achieve at least a 3.0 GPA each semester, maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in the courses listed on the student's Program of Study, and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 at all times in all courses taken. Students not meeting these requirements may be dropped from the program. Thus, if you earn a "C" in a graduate class, you will not have a 3.0 GPA unless you earn an "A" in another graduate class with the same number of credits. Further, if you have been provisionally admitted to the MPAc program you must meet the provisions of your admittance, which may include earning certain minimum grades in certain courses.

    Regardless, the Division of Graduation Education considers grades of "C-" and lower to be failing grades, and you will not be able to count those credits toward your degree requirements. However, those grades will have a significant negative impact on your GPA.

    It is also worth repeating that if you are preparing to apply for the MPAc program by completing the required background courses as a non-degree graduate student, you must earn a grade of "B" or higher ("B-" will not count) in order for any of the 400-level accounting courses to count as electives toward your MPAc degree. Also, if you are a senior undergraduate MSU student reserving one to three approved 400 or 500-level courses toward your MPAc degree, you also are required to earn a grade of "B" or higher (again, "B-" will not count) in order for those credits to be applied toward the 30 credits required for the MPAc program.


  21. I already have an undergraduate degree in an area other than business (or in a business area other than accounting). Consequently, I need to take many or all of the required background courses before I can apply for admission to the MPAc program. I do not wish to pursue a second undergraduate degree in accounting, so my classification status will be that of "non-degree graduate student" (NDGR). Am I eligible for financial aid as an NDGR, and if not, what options do I have?

    No, according to federal financial aid rules, a NDGR is not eligible for financial aid.

    In the College of Business, there are the following classifications for students:

    a. PACC = professional accountancy. A student is coded into this category by the Division of Graduate Education (DGE) when the student is officially accepted into the MPAc program; these students may register on-line for any undergraduate business course and all MPAc graduate courses.

    b. NDAC = pre-MPAc student. This code is for a student who has completed an undergraduate degree, has been accepted at MSU as a non-degree graduate student, and intends to apply for admission to the MPAc program but has not completed the requirements for admission to the MPAc program. For more information, please click here.

    c. NDGR = non-degree graduate. This is the appropriate code for students who have completed a baccalaureate degree and who are taking courses to prepare for the MPAc program but do not meet the requirements for the NDAC designation. These students may register on-line for most business courses (100, 200, and 300-level) and lower level accounting courses (200-level), but need the consent of the instructor to register for upper level accounting courses (300- and 400-level) and most MPAc graduate courses.

    d. BUAC = undergraduate business student admitted to upper division in accounting. These students may register on-line for all undergraduate business courses, including all 300 and 400-level accounting courses.

    e. PBAC = pre-business in accounting; these students may register on-line for most business courses (100, 200, and 300-level) and lower level accounting courses (200-level). However, these students must apply for and be formally admitted to the College of Business to be coded as BUAC. To be formally admitted to the College of Business, PBAC students must meet certain criteria (e.g., minimum GPA, number of credit hours earned, courses completed, etc.). Many courses other than the MPAc required courses must be completed in this classification in order to progress to BUAC.

It is the policy in the College of Business that students who are taking the required background courses to prepare for the MPAc program be classified as NDAC or NDGR.NDAC and NDGR students who need financial assistance are encouraged to apply for scholarships and/or seek part-time work. The Bracken Center in the College of Business solicits and promotes work opportunities for students.

Do you have questions that we have not answered (either here or on the website)? Send an email to busgrad@montana.edu.